Many people assume that to live with disability, people must have a visible difference for example, wheelchair use, an assistance dog, or an obvious physical disability. For many people living with disability this is not the case.
Invisible (or hidden) disabilities are defined as disabilities that are not immediately apparent. These invisible disabilities can include psychosocial disailities such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression and anxiety disorder and post traumatic stress disorder as well chronic and lifelong conditions such as Crohn's Disease, Rheumatoid arthritis, Autism, Epilepsy, Cystic Fibrosis, intellectual and learning disabilities and many other conditions. These (and many others) invisible disabilities significantly impact normal activities of daily living and reduce the quality of life for many people.
Lack of understanding around invisible disabilities can be very detrimental to a person's social experiences and can severely impact confidence, feelings of acceptance and hinder effots to go to school, work and access the community.
The general public can be very quick to judge and make assumptions regarding disability and this is especially the case when it comes to invisible disability. We have heard of many instances where people have been verbally attacked when using the designated disability car spaces or bathrooms simply because their disability is invisible.
So what can we all do? We encourage all members of the public to be mindful that not all disabilities require a wheelchair or can be seen in a visible way. Please also remember that those living with disability are under no obligation to disclose this information when out and about and we should all try not to jump to conclusions and instead try to show understanding and kindness.
To become a care or support worker, please visit www.careseekers.com.au/carer
To find aged care services, please visit www.careseekers.com.au/services/aged-care-workers
To find disability support services, please visit www.careseekers.com.au/services/disability-support-workers